Ayurveda is perhaps the only system of medicine that places an extraordinary emphasis on not just the food itself, but when and how it is to be taken.
Even the healthiest of foods when eaten at the wrong times can lead to the accumulation of toxins in the body which then results in diseases. This is what makes Ayurveda, so deep and successful in treating elements from their very root cause.
How should we eat daily so that we can treat the diseases just with the food that we need, that’s What this article is all about.
When to Eat
The number one thing that you should know before you begin eating on any given day is the time of sunrise and sunset at your location.
It is between this time duration that you should eat. This is because our digestion is largely dependent on the Sun. According to Ayurveda, as the Sun rises, our digestive fire rises gets to the peak when the Sun is at its peak and it dampens as the Sunsets.
Ayurveda states that any food which is eaten after the Sun has set food won’t properly get digested in the body. This undigested food then leads to the accumulation of toxins in the body which then results in short to long-term health issues.
So now you know that there is a specific eating window for you for Ayurvedic Diet, the other times you are on a fast here. It may sound, like intermittent fasting, a popular diet in the modern era. However, it is much different as the eating window is not decided by you, but nature decides it for yourself.
Modern intermittent fasting may help you with weight loss for a while, but this tide, which is in order with the laws of nature, will nourish your mind, body, and soul. At the deepest levels, weight loss is just a positive side effect.
After sunset, the only thing recommended by Ayurveda is milk. This is because the specific digestive enzymes required to digest the milk are secreted in the right quantities only then
Milk also has sedative properties. So drinking warm milk before bedtime also helps you calm down, inducing deep sleep. Now that you are familiar with your eating window, you can place your breakfast lunch, and dinner accordingly, while choosing the three meals.
You must know that even Ayurveda recommends you to eat, Breakfast, like a king, lunch like a prince while dinner like a pauper.
King signifies that you should be picky and choosey above the foods that you eat to break the fast. They should be well balanced with all the major macro-nutrients and satiating.
Then lunch like a prince since the prince is young and has better digestion than the king. He would eat the heaviest meal of the day. Yes, according to Ayurvedic scriptures, lunch should be the heaviest meal of the day. Now you know the reason behind it. Yes, because the Sun is at its peak.
So here is the thing if you want to indulge in sweets eat that outside meal once in a while lunchtime, is ideal
Dinner, like a pauper (Poor Man) since the Sun is about to set, one cannot afford to digest a lot of food, so the dinner should be Kept light: according to Ayurveda, there are some foods that are strictly prohibited during dinner.
Prohibited Foods in Night According To Ayurveda
These are bananas, reddish, curd and cucumbers. These are extremely cold-natured foods, which the body fails to digest properly, when the Sun is down,
The next question arises, breakfast lunch and dinner is all fine, but what exactly should I eat?
What to Eat?
Ayurveda has very specifically mentioned the ideal characteristics of ahar. The food that you eat should check the five boxes.
It should be sattvic,
it should be seasonal,
it should be local,
it should be fresh and
it should be tasty.
What is Sattvic Diet?
Derived from the word Satva, food full of goodness is called sattvic.
The traditional system of Ayurveda divides foods into three kinds: Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamsik.
Sattvic foods are synonymous with modern-day, wholesome foods.
These include fruits vegetables, nuts, seeds, fresh cow dairy, whole grains, and legumes. They come directly from the mother-nature and are nourishing for the mind-body and soul.
Now, when these same foods are cooked in excess of salt sugar spices or eaten too cold or hot to satisfy the palate, they make the mind restless. These foods are termed Rajsic,
Then there are some stale foods. These are foods of ignorance. They include frozen foods, stale food, intoxicating foods, preservative-laden packaged foods, and all non-vegetarian foods.
When these are eaten, they wreak havoc physically as well as mentally. So the more Sattvic food you eat the better it is.
The next important quality of food is that it should be seasonal. Ayurveda stresses that one should eat food, which is in the season not in fashion, consider mangoes.
If they are out of season, they will be sour, and eating them will cause acidity. Similarly, every food which is in season will provide the best possible nourishment so go to a local vegetable market, know what’s in season, buy it and eat it.
Thirdly, food eaten should be local. That is why it’s always recommended to choose coconuts over avocados. No doubt, both are healthy sources of fat, but they are foreign to Indians. There is a reason why nature grows certain food in a specific region.
It’s to suit the people of that region. Food which grows within the hundred kilometer radius of your location is local and that food, when eaten, gets properly assimilated by your body.
Don’t know how to find which food is seasonal and local.
A simple hack is to go to a nearby shop and look for the cheapest fruits and vegetables.
Ayurvedic Diet – Fresh
Next, the food should be fresh. Our weather suggests even Bhagavad-Gita in one of its Shalokas clearly mentions that food prepared should be eaten within three hours.
The fresher the food you eat, the more it will foster your health, so eating refrigerated so-called health foods will do more harm than good.
Tasty- Ayurvedic Diet
Finally, the food should be tasty. Yes, that makes it clear that, no matter how nutritious our food maybe, if you don’t find it delicious, you cannot receive all its benefits.
This breaks the myth that a healthy diet, isn’t palatable, but, that doesn’t mean that you hop on Maggie and don’t check the first four boxes.
This makes it very clear as to what food is best for us to eat.
Subsequently, the question arises,
How much food should I eat for Ayurvedic Diet?
Ayurveda confirms that you don’t need to ask any Dietician, but your own stomach. Ancient Texts affirms that if one eats consciously focused on eating chewing and relishing every bite, the stomach itself signals when it’s full.
On the contrary, if you eat in front of the screens talking over the phone or in between the conversations you will miss out on the stomach signals and as a result, you will overeat.
So save yourself from the hassle of counting every calorie that you intake, just listen to your body and eat according to your appetite, the same goes true for whatever else.
How much Water should you Drink for an Ayurvedic Diet?
How much water should you drink on a daily basis depends upon person to person? Again listen to your body. If you’re thirsty drink it slowly, sip by sip, our body gets a good amount of water from other food sources like fruits and vegetables.
However, there is one time when water should be drunk, even if you are not thirsty. That is first thing in the morning upon waking up.
In Ayurvedic scriptures, it is referred to as USHA-PAAN. It is mentioned that at night when we sleep, the body gets to the healing process accumulating the toxins, then upon waking of when we drink water before brushing it flushes the toxins of the body cleansing the intestines.
At this time, it is ideal to drink over 1 liter of water. After drinking water, you should freshen up and then proceed to the main meals of the day. So that gives you deep insight as to why and how you should manage your diet in tune with nature.
If we summarize it, first thing in the morning upon waking up, drink a lot of water freshen up after this, every food that you intake should be within the window of sunrise and sunset, then plan your breakfast like a KING.
It should be full of nutrition, but still not very heavy. Lunch should be the heaviest, dinner should be light, some foods are prohibited and enough food eaten throughout the day should check the 5 boxes.
You can include fresh fruits and vegetables before the main meals, not after. Milk is the only food that can be and should be consumed after sunset. So this completes your full-day Ayurvedic diet plan.
If you align yourself with the laws of nature and eat according to what has prescribed in ancient texts something powerful will happen every day. Your body will have ample time to heal the damage done before and slowly all your health issues will come to an end.